You Gonna Eat All That?

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Our 6th Anniversary (And comical dining)

Midway into our vacation, we also celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. Knowing a good number of restaurants in New Smyrna Beach we began to think about where to celebrate the event almost as soon as we arrived last weekend. A few places we had not eaten at before sounded interesting too. And in the end we chose a place that came recommended by a past guest at the house we had rented. It was a very tiny restaurant called "The Patio." It's a tiny little house that has been converted into a restaurant. The dining room is the old front porch that has been closed in and seats no more than 25 people. A covered patio out back seats an additional 25-30 people as well.

We drove by on Saturday, the 21st, to see if they were open on Sunday (which was our actual anniversary). One of the owners had just stepped out from the back door as we pulled in so we inquired. He said they were closed on Sundays and asked if we would like to dine tonight instead. We said sure, why not. He took our name for a 7:30 reservation then excused himself to get back to prepping for a wedding reception they were hosting that afternoon out on the covered patio.

We drove away with high hopes for a lovely evening. For the rest of the day we lulled around the house, sat up on the roof deck, took the dog down to the beach and relaxed with Biscuit Boy's parents. They had come down for a week to vacation with us. My parents came down as well for the first 5 days we were there but had already gone back home by Saturday.

Early that evening, we got dressed up, had a pre-dinner drink with the in-laws and headed out for what was planned to be a romantic dinner.

We arrived at the restaurant right at 7:30. As we pulled in we noticed that the outdoor patio was still full of people. My first thought was that the wedding party from earlier was still going strong. But that shouldn't have any effect on our dinner plans, right? Wrong..........

Turns out it was not the wedding party but a second catered event the restaurant was hosting that day. This was a birthday party with 70 guests! We didn't find out this little tid bit until we had been sitting at our table for nearly 30 minutes (without even getting our drink order taken). I was ready to get up and leave but Biscuit Boy talked me out of it. Surely the restaurant staff was prepared to handle the large party in addition to the 25 diners in the dining room, right? Wrong......again.........

There were only two wait staff for all of the guests. One spent most of her time inside trying (and failing) to keep up. The other guy flitted in and out between the large party outside and the trying to lend a hand inside.

After 45 minutes, two other tables had also been seated. They got their water glasses filled and were given a basket of warm bread. We had one set of incomplete silverware, one (now warm) glass of water and no bread. I wanted to leave again, but Biscuit Boy cooed at me and smoothed my ruffled feathers. And, it was beginning to become comical watching the harried waitress try to smile and be friendly when you knew she just wanted to scream.

Finally, she came to our table and genuinely apologized for keeping us waiting. It made me feel better that at least she knew we had been waiting. We placed our order for the appetizer, a bottle of Moet White Star Champagne and the Chateaubriand for two. She asked it we were celebrating a special occasion and we said yes, our wedding anniversary. She offered her congratulations and said she'd be right back with some warm bread and our champagne.

About 10 minutes later, she comes out to inform us that because of the large birthday party and the full dining room, the chef said he was too busy to prepare the Chateaubriand. UGH!!!! So she gave some menus, suggested a few items and left to give a few minutes to rethink our dinner choices. We were giggling now, partially out of hunger but also from the chain of events thus far. Little did we know that it wasn't over yet.......

The waitress comes back about 5 minutes later with a bottle of champagne in her hand. It's not the White Star that we ordered. She tells us, "We're completely out of all the champagne except for this. Would you like it instead?" It was a bottle of Andre. Hmm.....let me think about this........we ordered a $45 bottle of champagne.........and we're offered a $4.00 bottle instead. Uh, no.....that's quite ok.

Biscuit Boy just asked for a carafe of the house red since we both had decided on steak for dinner. But had we known what the house red tasted like, we'd have most likely just had water. I'm not sure what brand it was but we're pretty sure it was bottled last Thursday. It was pretty bad stuff but after sitting there for well over an hour, starving, we didn't care.

Our appetizer finally arrived. A portabello mushroom cap stuffed with crab (and lots of filler) and topped with cheese. It was very big and fairly tasty, but we were also very hungry and set upon it like a pack of hungry wolves. By now the cheap red wine was kicking in too. We couldn't help but laugh to ourselves about the comedy of errors but knew that the entrees had yet to come.

Biscuit Boy ordered the Filet with Stuffed Shrimp. It was ok except for the big piece of fat in the middle of it. The shrimp were as much stuffed as they were just topped with some of the same crab (and lots of filler) stuffing. The baked potatoes we each had were barely done.

I ordered the Beef Wellington. It was supposed to be done medium rare and was supposed to be a filet. It came out medium if not medium well and if it was filet, it didn't come from a cow. It was stringy and tasted like pot roast.

We ate about half of our meals and finished off the red wine (We needed something to help us through the meal). We asked the waitress to box up the rest of our dinners and got a dessert to go (A slice of the richest, fudgiest chocolate cake I've ever eaten).

Throughout the entire evening the waitress was as gracious as she could be, and it was genuine. She really wanted us to have a good evening. When she brought our bill, she only charged us for a half carafe of wine and didn't charge us for the appetizer. She didn't have to do that but she did and for that reason, I would be brave enough to give the place another try. Call me a glutton for punishment but I really think the place can do better when they aren't stretched so thin. I would be sure to go on a night when they weren't catering any large parties. You could tell they were pushed to their limits that night and just couldn't handle it.

And it did make for a memorable evening. At least the parts that the red wine didn't fuzz out. Happy Anniversary Biscuit Boy........

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1 Comments:

Blogger Culinary Fool said...

I'm sure it was amazingly frustrating at the time - but look you are already laughing about it. And you know what? This will be an anniversary you remember! Sometimes the ones that go as planned don't have the same staying power. :-)

Congrats on 6 years!

4:19 PM  

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